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South-South Cooperation Conference Kicks Off In Kenya

The High Level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation started Tuesday in Nairobi, Kenya, with officials discussing prospects and challenges of the initiative, Xinhua reports (Ooko, 12/1).

The meeting aims to initiate “more multi lateral agreements to encourage trade amongst the member countries,” Kenya Broadcasting Corporation reports (Mbote, 11/30). “The conference is being convened on the 30th anniversary of adoption of Buenos Aires Plan of Action for promoting and implementing technical cooperation among developing countries,” Xinhua writes in a second article (Ooko/Ochieng, 12/1).  

At the meeting, U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Asha Rose Migiro said the world body could help to promote cooperation between a variety of countries. “The demands of our deeply interconnected world call for practical solutions, reinforced by stronger South-South and North-South partnerships,” she said. Migiro “said the international community can only welcome higher South-South investments in agriculture, education, health and infrastructure development, particularly in Africa,” Xinhua writes.

Raila Odinga, the prime minister of Kenya, said the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) sometimes pose a challenge to South-South cooperation. “Odinga said some of these challenges include those arising from the global economic and financial crisis, communicable diseases, high food prices, effects of climate change as well as limited resources to meet the needs of the people.” He said, “I fear therefore, that many countries in the continent and elsewhere in the South may not achieve all the MDGs goals by 2015.” He also noted poverty as a major challenge. ” Nearly one half of the South’s population is still living under unacceptable levels of human deprivation,” he said (Ooko, 12/1).

Two new reports from the U.N. Secretary-General’s office highlight the fast pace of South-South trade growth, according to a U.N. press release (11/24). 

Inter Press Service interviewed Richard Kozul-Wright – officer-in-charge of the Unit on Economic Cooperation and Integration Among Developing Countries at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development – about South-South trade, the conference and related topics (Sandrasangra, 11/30).